David Rehr’s departure couldn’t have come at a worse time.
David is the quintessential “Washington Insider”. Unfortunately, his heft and clout proceed from his roots in the Republican Party … which is in considerable disarray, if not disrepute.
David Rehr is a dynamic and articulate advocate and he employed all his considerable talents while in our service.
There’s no question that the election of President Obama and the loss of the Senate majority brought a sea change in the balance of power in Washington.
The NAB President did his best to reflect the priorities of the current NAB board, whose focus always has been on structural, competitive and “money” issues … with little time, effort or energy left for government intrusion into the product of our labors.
The fault, I fear, is not to be found in NAB’s executive suite, but rather in the lack of purpose and resolve among our fellow broadcasters on Free Speech matters.
The group heads, absentee owners, “market managers” and conglomerateurs abroad in the land have spent all their energy on desperate efforts to revive their penny stocks and restore investor confidence.
As a result, government intrusion into our profession has had to take a back seat. Broadcasters’ Free Speech rights have never been secured and critical First Amendment issues have been ignored by NAB and by all of us.
Unfortunately, for all his efforts, David Rehr never seemed to hear the essential music of the Founders or the urgent necessity for protection from government censorship.
In this critical matter of interest to all Americans, David is not alone to blame. For while many of us tried to re-shape his priorities, those pleadings were drowned out by the Board’s attention to “money” issues.
But it was ever thus … even under previous NAB administrations which were often willing to trade our First Amendment rights for monetary and strategic gain.
The cry for a broadcaster to fill the leadership position at NAB is understandable. But how many statesmen are there abroad in the land these days? Where might we find the Ward Quaal of this generation as our problems multiply from within and from without?
I, for one, am sad to see David Rehr go. Among other things, he was very supportive of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and he communicated very well with his constituents.
Like Sean Hannity, he often signed off his notes “You’re a great American.” I think he is.
But NAB must be – first and foremost – our sentinel on the Potomac against government incursions into our programming.
— Bill O’Shaughnessy, Whitney Media President & Editorial Director
RBR/TVBR note: For details see Job opening at NAB